Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Best Spots for Watching Fireworks in DC

Ok so I know, I'm always looking for the best spot to watch the fireworks in DC with out going down to the mall with all those crazy people!  But if you choose to go down there here are some pointers! 

I also noted some secret spots  (Don't tell anyone)

• U.S. CAPITOL: The grounds open at 2:30 p.m. Watchers also get to view the Independence Day Concert starting at 8 p.m. and watch the fireworks to the 1812 Overture. Tip: Take the Metro to this destination and get there early. It gets crowded quickly.
• LINCOLN MEMORIAL: The steps of the Lincoln Memorial are a popular spot to watch the fireworks for those seeking a serene backdrop to their Independence Day.
• WASHINGTON MONUMENT: This is the most popular, and loudest, spot to watch the fireworks on July 4. Choosing this spot means lying back and watching the fireworks go off directly overhead.
• THOMAS JEFFERSON MEMORIAL: This memorial is a little more out of the way than others and sometimes has smaller crowds.
• FDR MEMORIAL: The crowds are typically less dense at this memorial than others.
• THE ELLIPSE: This is the closest you can get to the White House and watch the fireworks. The Ellipse is on Constitution Avenue between 15th and 17th Streets.
• EAST POTOMAC PARK: Perfect for spreading out and having a barbecue.
• LADY BIRD JOHNSON PARK: Between Arlington Memorial Bridge and George Mason Memorial Bridge in Arlington.
• U.S. MARINE CORPS MEMORIAL/IWO JIMA: From here, there is a perfect view of the fireworks lighting up the Lincoln Memorial.
• GRAVELLY POINT & MOUNT VERNON TRAIL: This long stretch long the Mount Vernon bike trail offers stunning views of the fireworks without the crowds of the National Mall.
PETWORTH: The Armed Forces Retirement Home is hosting a viewing event July 4 at the southern grounds of the retirement home from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. It includes local food vendors, fishing, hiking, biking, picnicking, kickball, tug of war, balloon twisting and music.
CRUISES: The Odyssey cruise offers a live band, and the Spirit of Washington cruise has a disc jockey spinning all night. The Odyssey cruise is $199.90 per person and runs from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The Spirit of Washington cruise is $149.90 per person and runs from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
ROOFTOP BARS: There are more than a dozen bars in the city that have rooftop service.

Metrorail service:
- On July 4th, Metrorail service will run from 7 a.m. until midnight, with near rush-hour service levels between 6 p.m. to midnight.
- There is no scheduled track work.
- The Smithsonian station will be open all day but will only be "entry only" starting at the end of the fireworks.
- To get to and from the Mall, riders are encouraged to use the following stops rather than Federal Triangle and Smithsonian because of expected crowding:
   •  Foggy Bottom-GWU
   •  Metro Center
   •  Archives
   •  Gallery Place
   •  Judiciary Square
   •  Union Station
   •  L’Enfant Plaza
   •  Capitol South (no elevator service)
   •  Federal Center SW
   •  Arlington Cemetery
Secret Spots to watch the fireworks.
Canadian Embassy rooftop
501 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
It's so tempting. You saw those Canucks up there last time as you waited hours to get through the Capitol security line, missing most of "A Capitol Fourth" entertainment and viewing all but the last few fusilades from outside the fence. What a great vantage point for seeing the fireworks that little piece of Canadian real estate is, almost across the street from the Capitol, only up high.
The "teensy little problem," of course, is that you don't work for the Embassy or know anyone who does. So, if you're going to park your peepers on the Canadian Embassy rooftop for Independence Day, you've got your work cut out for you. You're really on your own for this one, but here are a few suggestions to get you started: Say "Eh?" whenever your mouth opens, swear your allegiance to poutine, and carry a hockey stick. It wouldn't hurt to practice some security evasion techniques, either.
Beacon Bar & Grill Sky Bar
1615 Rhode Island Ave. NW
Sold out! Getting in here cost $15 to $25, depending on how early you paid up. This Rhode Island Avenue establishment offers a bird's-eye view from 150 feet up. Great option if everyone in your party is 21 or older. But you won't be going there this year. File this one away and remember to book by early June next year if this is your preferred perch. (As for the cost, compare it to the W's rooftop 
"Is there anywhere other than the Mall where I can actually see the national fireworks this year?"
Well, yes, there are a few places...
Benjamin Banneker Park
L'Enfant Plaza
Benjamin Bannekar Park is free, elevated, and Metro-accessible - close to the Mall, but not in the thick of the crowd. It's less popular than the stretch of Potomac riverbank north of the Pentagon that plays host to Virginians eager to watch the July 4 festivities. And it's less obvious to tourists than some of the other Independence Day celebration viewing hotspots like the Jefferson and FDR memorials.
Cardozo High School and Columbia Heights
1300 Clifton St. NW
Cardozo High School is two miles from the crush of traffic invading the Mall. It's in Columbia Heights, which boasts almost but not quite the highest elevation in the city. The grassy grounds offer optimal viewing of the rockets' red glare and bombs bursting in air down by the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool.
If you make friends readily, securing an impromptu rooftop viewing invite for the Washington, D.C., fireworks from Columbia Heights apartment residents may be easier than you think. Whether you're on a rooftop or at street level, Columbia Heights provides some of most unfettered fireworks views inside the District.
McKinley Technology High School
                                                                                                   151 T St. NE
Over in the Eckington neighborhood, the neighbors gather at McKinley when they don't want to face the night-long drama Mall-going invariably involves. Why wait for 6 or 10 trains to get yourself home, when you can watch the show from right in your own neighborhood?
If you really can't stand crowds, remember, these are the celebrated national fireworks. You can always stay home or in your hotel and watch them on PBS.
                                                            18th St Adams Morgan
You can clearly see the Washington Monument from this height in the center of city, and since they recently finished making the sidewalks wider in this area I think it will become a new spot to watch.

Tabaq Bistro
1336 U st.  
Tabaq has one of the best views from this part of the city which is relatively flat. but the height of this old row house turned restaurant makes it a romantic dinner or viewing area!  Check for reservations.

                                                                Meridian Hill Park
16th St.
Throngs of local residents come to the top of this marvelous park to view the fireworks.  but we always bitch about that damn ugly ass apartment building blocking some of the views of this city!  TEAR IT DOWN.

                                                                              Georgetown Waterfront
Crowds are very low here mostly local residents.
If you have any special areas you wanna share with us, post them.

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